While the focus of Veganism is most often on diet, there are a growing number of people participating in purchasing only vegan household and personal products. These are products that are not animal tested, environmentally friendly, and do not contain or use any animal-biproducts in the process of production. For example, some brand wines use skin and marrow to filter out impurities during the fermenting process. While these animal parts are removed before distribution, it’s not uncommon to find trace amounts still remaining in the liquid.
While shopping today for a new conditioner, out of all the hair care products in this particular store, I only found two brands that state clearly on the bottle that they are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free.
What’s wrong with animal testing?
For these reasons, vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights activists are increasing awareness of the dangers and unnecessary use of animal testing and body part use. Among the most relevant to businesses to increase marketing and sales is the accredited Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) license in which businesses are legally bound to no longer use animal-testing as well as use of the Cruelty-Free rabbit trademark. Here is a link to the current list of CCF accredited brands.
The biggest argument against animal-testing, especially in the cosmetic industry, is that it is unnecessary. The US is not legally required to test products on animals before moving a product to production. Also, many species react differently to different products, so the data is often skewed with a good deal of risk still involved. The most compelling argument is that the majority of animal testing is occurring for brands to be developing brand new chemicals and mixtures rather than choosing a list of thousands of FDA approved ingredients that have been tested and approved for human use.
As many as 50 new ways of product testing have been developed that are much quicker and do not need the use of an animal. For example:
- Using blood from human volunteers to test for the presence of fever-causing contaminants in intravenous medicines.
- EpiSkin™, EpiDerm™ and SkinEthic, each composed of artificial human skin, can eliminate painful skin corrosion and irritation tests.
- The Bovine Corneal Opacity and Permeability Test and Isolated Chicken Eye Test use eyes from animals slaughtered for the meat industry to detect chemicals and products that are severely irritating to the eyes.
- The 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Test can replace the use of mice and other animals in the testing of medicines and other products for their potential to cause sunlight induced “photo-toxicity.”
- The Reduced Local Lymph Node Assay for skin allergy testing makes it possible to reduce animal use by up to 75 percent compared with traditional guinea pig and mouse tests.
- When testing to determine chemical concentrations that are deadly to fish and other aquatic life, use of the Fish Threshold Method can reduce the numbers of fish used by at least 70 percent compared with standard test methods.
What can be a vegan product?
Search online for “Vegan Store” or walk into any “Vegetarian Boutique” to see that anything and everything can be considered a vegan product: toothpaste, face wash, moisturizer, clothing, shoes, furniture, books, office supplies, and everything in between.
However, beware of vegan green-washing. A common practice of advertisers is to use certain buzzwords to create interest in a company’s product. Much like today’s cereals are labeled a gluten-free, whole grain, and organic, some products will attempt to justify raising the price for including “vegan” buzzwords in the label.
This is where your knowledge of Veganism can come in handy. Reading the ingredients list not only assures you no animal-products are being used but the “naturalness” of what your buying is legitimate. If you pick up a box of cheap veggie burgers, the label will most likely be a color explosions of gluten-free, meatless, and other buzzwords. But once you flip the box and check out the ingredients list, you have a list of chemicals that require the help of a Master’s Degree in Chemistry.
By being conscious of what it is that you are buying, not only are you helping your health and well-being, you are also being a rational consumer assisting the country’s economy. The citizen’s are who control the economy by what we purchase. By showing a higher demand for Cruelty-Free products and natural ingredients, you are helping America become healthier.
What does it all mean?
In order to be a good consumer in the American economy, you have to be more conscious in what you are buying. By increasing demand for Cruelty-Free products from brands that are licensed with the CCF accreditation with the trademark rabbit logo, you help decrease the need for animals to be used in the process of production of everyday products, not just food. For a full list of brands that don’t use animals for testing in order to make more conscious purchasing decisions, follow this link.